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Rediff.com  » News » FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

Last updated on: January 22, 2014 19:13 IST

FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Kashmir Valley had its second heaviest snowfall on Wednesday bringing life to a grinding halt.

The snowfall began early morning with the local MET office forecasting more snow till Thursday.

Two spells of heavy snowfalls, the first on New Year’s eve, brought back memories of the harsh winters the valley used to experience early on.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

The heavy snowfalls have led to prolonged cold wave conditions in the valley where the locals had almost forgotten harsh winters.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

“The snowfall this winter have brought back childhood memories when we used to be confined to homes without any proper heating arrangements except the traditional fire pot, ‘Kangri’. Even now it continues to be the main source of warmth for a majority of the households,” said Kaiser Ahmad, a school teacher.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

“We used to make winter preparations months ahead, like storing firewood for the hearth, charcoal for ‘Kangris’, dried vegetables for these lean months and fodder for sheep and cattle. But we had almost forgotten everything for the past two decades,” said Ahmad.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Wednesday’s snowfall snapped road links, power lines, and potable water lines adding to the hardships of the locals. The valley’s only road link with the rest of the country, the strategic Jammu Srinagar national highway, was buried under tons of snow which made the plying of vehicular traffic impossible.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Many roads connecting the capital city with the outlying districts faced the same fate. Because of the heavy snowfall, no flight could land at the Srinagar airport on Wednesday.

The flights to and fro Srinagar have been suspended for the time being and there are bleak chances of any flights operating on Wednesday due to continuous snowfall, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.

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Image: Actor Saif Ali Khan poses for a photograph. He is in Gulmarg where his film 'Phantom' is being shot
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

The snowfall was heavy in south Kashmir’s health resort, Pahalgam, and north Kashmir mountain resort Gulmarg, the former famous for its winter sports. The administration has made special arrangements for the ongoing winter sports in Gulmarg.

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

The local horticulturists and farmers are happy though. Two heavy snowfalls hold a prized prospect for a good produce.

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Police said over 200 vehicles were stranded at several places in Sidhra, Udhampur, Ramban, Kud, Ramban and Banihal belts of Jammu region. About one-feet thick snow had accumulated at the Jawahar tunnel and 6 inches at the Patnitop belt.

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

"The men and machines of BRO are working to clear the highway of snowfall," a police official said.

"We did not allow fresh movement of vehicles from both the capital cities due to snowfall. Only stranded vehicles will be cleared," they said.

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Various inter-district roads including Doda-Kishtwar, Batote-Doda, Basholi, Moghal road besides interior roads of Poonch and Rajouri districts were also closed.

Fresh snowfall was witnessed in hills of Kishtwar, Doda, Poonch, Rajouri, Kathua, Reasi, Ramban and Bhaderwah valley, triggering extreme cold wave conditions not only in Himlayan belts but also in plains of Jammu.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Jammu and its adjoining areas witnessed heavy overnight rains while Kashmir received snowfall in the wee hours of Wednesday with Srinagar city receiving 20 centimetres of snow till 8.30 am, a MET office spokesman said.

He said Gulmarg skiing resort registered 1.5 feet of snowfall on Wednesday morning while Pahalgam in south Kashmir received 45 centimetres of snow.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

The fresh snowfall, however, brought much needed respite to the Valley residents from the intense cold wave as minimum temperature in most parts settled close to the freezing point.

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

Temperatures in Srinagar recorded at 0.2 degrees Celsius, while Qazigund registered a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius.

Pahalgam and Kokernag areas recorded 1.0 degrees Celsius. Leh recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius while Gulmarg recorded minimum of minus 3.4 degrees.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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FREEZE FRAME: White-out in Kashmir Valley, again

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Mukhtar Ahmad

While divisional administration began snow clearance operations early in the morning, the continuous snowfall has rendered roads slippery. Electricity supply across the valley has been shut down as a precautionary measure.

With inputs from PTI


Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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